While many of us take the New Year as an opportunity to get back into shape, to read more or to finally start learning that new language, this time can be used to improve our day-to-day routines as well. Building good habits starts with small steps, and this is especially true when it comes to vehicle maintenance. While routine maintenance may seem inconsequential, putting it off can be disastrous, regardless of whether you drive a commuter vehicle or a semi. We’ve put together our list of four New Year’s “resolutions” to help prevent minor details from becoming major problems.
1. Keep the pressure in check
Be honest, when was the last time you checked the air pressure in your tires? It’s an easy step most of us don’t think about. Incorrect tire pressure, however, can have unfortunate consequences. Over inflation can lead to poor traction and uneven tire wear, posing both a safety hazard, as well as a significant hit to your budget. Under inflation, on the other hand, causes an excess buildup of heat, which may result in a blown tire. And for truckers, improper inflation can add over 3% to fuel bills. Before any long trip, especially during the holiday season when roads tend to be wet or slick, make sure to check your tire pressure.
2. Change the oil on time, every time
Testing the limits of your oil is another bad habit that needs to be broken. As the oil in your vehicle breaks down, the friction on the engine builds up, leading to increased wear. It’s tempting to wait the extra month or few thousand miles before changing your oil, but the small inconvenience of changing your oil is nothing compared to buying a whole new engine. And when it comes to commercial trucks, this seemingly insignificant task should not be left for the last minute. Additionally, professional oil changes provide an excellent opportunity to service your vehicle on a fuller scale.
3. Have your “just in case” case ready
Even with proper care, it is always important to be prepared for the worst-case scenario. Whether you are a full-time driver, or just driving to visit family for the holidays, having an emergency kit ready to go is just a necessary fact of life. In addition to the usual accoutrements such as battery cables and tire tools, a complete “just in case” case should include a flashlight, a first-aid kit, gloves and a sleeping bag if driving in winter conditions, and a battery powered radio (should your cellphone die or when traveling in areas with limited or no coverage). While this list is certainly not extensive, it provides a jumping off point to help assemble your own emergency preparedness kit.
4. Do more than the occasional windshield scrub
If dirt and grime build up on the exterior of your car, this can lead to rust and wear at a far faster rate than a car which is routinely cleaned. Washing your car and even detailing it a few times a year can do wonders for preventing wear and tear. It’s not just an external thing, either. Having trash rolling around inside your car can be a serious safety concern. Besides, nobody wants to deal with germy garbage or the smell of days old food when they ride in any car.
At Bauer Built, we understand that sweating the small stuff can positively impact the big picture. By instilling good habits now, you can keep your vehicle running for years to come.